Robbing The Ducks

There’s a championship football game on tonight…

Surprise!

Unless you are a hardcore Oregon Duck fan it’s entirely possible to not know that the inaugural PAC-12 conference championship game is tonight.

That’s right, on a night typically reserved for high school playoff games nationwide, the Oregon Ducks will compete for a conference championship.

You are probably wondering why this isn’t stirring up as much public interest as say, mattress sales or snow tire installations- both of which apparently mean a lot to Northwesterners.

This is because the 10-2 Duck’s opponent in this contest are the 6-6 UCLA Bruins.

A Duck victory, and by victory I mean beat down, is highly likely since the Bruins have most recently:

-Lost by 50,
-Failed to score a single point,
-Fired their head coach,
-Forgotten how to spell UCLA.

Putting UCLA on the field tonight is an insult to Oregon, and it robs the Ducks of a spotlight that they rightfully deserve.

So why is this football game happening again?

Western teams like Oregon and USC are tired of having to defend their 1-loss seasons. By adding 2 more teams to the conference, splitting it in half, and then having the winner of each half face the other in a championship game, the western colleges were hoping to add legitimacy and weight to their best team’s national championship bid.

So why are the Ducks about to trample a failing program in a meaningless game?

Because USC ruined it all and I’m not talking about their last-minute victory over the Ducks 2 weeks ago.

USC is the actual southern division winner, they are wearing their own t-shirts to celebrate it, but they aren’t allowed to play in the championship game against Oregon because they are being penalized by the ruling authorities for major violations of college football eligibility rules.

USC’s years of cheating didn’t just land them on probation, it is also costing their conference an opportunity for legitimacy that they spent years cultivating, then bringing to fruition.

Beyond that, the University of Oregon is also robbed of the opportunity to, with a victory over the Trojans, regain position in the national polls, and earn redemption over the team that cost them an opportunity for a berth in a more prestigious BCS bowl game come January.

When USC chose to break the rules, then try to cover it up, they brought their high payment price to a lot of innocent bystanders and participants.

This happens anytime someone screws up right?

Have you ever suffered because of someone else’s mistake?

Whether or not it’s fair doesn’t make a difference that you pay a penalty for their misdeeds.

In life I’ve found that people usually blame the wrong person when something happens. Plenty of people are bLaming UCLA for stinking their way into a conference championship game. Others are mad at the conference for continuing on with the farce of a match-up. Others are mad at the Ducks for losing to USC the first time.

The truth is that the blame for this debacle lands squarely on the shoulders of the rule-breakers. Had they played clean during the Pete Carroll Era, tonight could be the compelling game we all want it to be.

Blaming anybody else is like blaming God when terrorists blow up buildings, your grandmother dies of cancer, or your parents get divorced.

In those situations there’s an actual villain at work that you have to leap over to lay the blame at God’s feet.

While USC clearly isn’t as villainous as terrorists, cancer, or philanderers are, it’s important to remember that “blaming” is an effort to excuse or remove responsibility for failure and error.

The failure of SC to comply with the rules they agreed to, is a failure greater than the lopsided outcome of a football game.

It’s a failure that everybody gets to pay for tonight… especially UCLA.

Editors Note: Jon Furman is a lifelong UCLA fan, and though he does not share an affinity for the Oregon Ducks, saying mean things about USC brings him great pleasure.

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